The Best Supplements for Wrestlers
If you are a wrestler, you'll probably get lots of advice and hear lots of hype about supplements. It's important to keep in mind that an estimated 30,000 supplements are available in the United States. They are essentially unregulated, and some supplements have side effects that can cause long-term damage or even be fatal. To put it simply, be careful what you put in your body. On the positive side, research has shown that some supplements can be useful for strength, energy and endurance, as long as they are used properly. TurtlePress.com, a site for for wrestlers and martial arts practitioners, recommends four pre-workout supplements that might help you. Another pre-workout supplement for athletes looking to build strength and endurance, nitrites, is recommended by the STACK website. After a strenuous workout, you'll need recovery beverages and foods, not supplements.
Creatine is widely touted as a key supplement for wrestlers and bodybuilders, and there is ample evidence that it works. The Mayo Clinic explains that creatine helps your muscles produce additional adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which stores and transfers energy to your cells. Higher levels of ATP can produce short-term bursts of energy that can enhance your performance on the mat. But there's no evidence creatine can boost your aerobic capacity or endurance. Using creatine as recommended by manufacturers appears safe for adults, although no long-term studies are available. However, the effects on teens are unclear. Excessive amounts of creatine are counterproductive and might harm your kidneys and liver.
Creatine and beta-alanine supplements are recommended by both TurtlePress.com and STACK. Beta-alanine increases the carnosine in your muscles, which counters the buildup of lactic acid in your system and enables you to work harder for longer periods. However, if you take more than 800 milligrams, you might experience numbing or tingling sensations. Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, also counteracts lactic acid buildup. But stomach cramps and diarrhea are side effects of sodium bicarbonate, something a wrestler wants to avoid before a workout or match.
Caffeine is a popular supplement for wrestlers and other athletes looking to increase their strength and power. Caffeine is a stimulant that can cut fatigue. You can take caffeine supplements or drink a cup of coffee before a workout or match. Energy drinks usually contain substantial amounts of caffeine. But you have to be careful with caffeine. Some people feel shaky or wind up with an upset stomach if they take caffeine. In large enough doses, caffeine can be dangerous. In 2012, the FDA linked about two dozen deaths to caffeine-laced energy drinks.
Amino Acids and Nitrites
Amino acids are found in proteins, and proteins are the building blocks of your muscles. The best proteins for a pre-workout supplement come in easily digestible liquid forms, such as a protein shake. Nitrites and sodium bicarbonate are on STACK's list of best-bet supplements. Nitrites are found in beetroot juice as well as spinach, arugula and celery. Nitrites can enhance your endurance. Be sure not to confuse nitrites with nitrates, which can be deadly.
Pre-Workout Supplement Combinations
If you combine a bunch of highly-recommended supplements into one package, containing caffeine, amino acids, B-vitamins, creatine and beta-alamine, you can reduce fatigue during strenuous exercise, while improving your reaction time and muscular endurance. Those were the findings of a 2012 research study conducted with recreational athletes and published in "Nutrition&Metabolism."
- TurtlePress.com: 4 Supplements That May Work -- Creatine, Beta-alanine, Caffeine, Protein
- STACK: The Best Pre-Workout Supplements
- MayoClinic.com: Performance Enhancing Drugs: Know the Risks
- Nutrition&Metabolism: Ingesting a Pre-Workout Supplement Containing Caffeine, B-vitamins, Amino Acids, Creatine, and Beta-Alanine Before Exercise Delays Fatigue While Improving Reaction Time and Muscular Endurance
- Los Angeles Times: Food FYI: 5-Hour Energy Drinks Linked to 13 Deaths
Jim Thomas has been a freelance writer since 1978. He wrote a book about professional golfers and has written magazine articles about sports, politics, legal issues, travel and business for national and Northwest publications. He received a Juris Doctor from Duke Law School and a Bachelor of Science in political science from Whitman College.